Various Give ‘Em the Boot II

Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records label has released its second compilation of old-style ska and punk. The first Give ‘Em the Boot is a perfect combination of first and second wave ska combined with street punk. Give ‘Em the Boot II includes many of the same bands as the first CD; Rancid, Dropkick Murphy’s, Hepcat, the Pietasters, as well as some new Hellcat bands like Tiger Army and the Distillers. The first-wave ska element appears in the form of the brilliant “Have The Time” by the Slackers, the Dave Hillyard Rocksteady Seven’s “The Foo,” Hepcat’s “Riding The Region” and one of my personal favourites, “Can’t Stand It” by the Pietasters. The fact that the songs were chosen by members of Rancid does not go unnoticed. The majority of the bands on the compilation borrow heavily from Rancid’s sound or, as in a number of cases, feature members of the band on their songs. Rancid themselves appear with the title track of their latest album, Life Won’t Wait, and the previously unreleased “If The Kids Are United.” One of the most interesting changes to the second compilation is the addition of dancehall and ragga artists. Buju Banton, Mad Lion and Buccaneer all have tracks on the CD, backed up by Rancid themselves. I was a little disappointed by some of the generic street punk on the album, as well some of the lame attempts at ska, like Choking Victim’s “Crack Rock Steady.” The majority of the songs after the Slackers tune are not very outstanding, but the first part of this disc is amazing. (Hellcat)